From their humble beginnings creating You Tube videos in Scott Bradlee’s living room Postmodern Jukebox, or PMJ, have built a world wide fan base to rival the artists whose songs they recreate in a swing and jazz arrangement. Touching down in the City of Churches on Saturday 22 September 2018, PMJ were rapturously received by the near sold out Adelaide crowd at the Entertainment Centre Theatre.
Hosted by international showgirl sensation Ariana Savalas whose comedic cabaret/ burlesque panache was a delight to watch, the first artist to perform was San Francisco’s Mario Jose. Backed by the spirited five piece orchestra consisting of keys, bass, drums, saxophone and trombone, Jose launched into Sam Smith’s I’m Not the Only One leaving the audience instantly enamoured with his graceful, yet commanding voice.
Olivia Kuper Harris, winner of the PMJ Search 2017, followed Jose with her rendition of Katy Perry’s Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F) which highlighted her sensational soprano range and scatting talents. Not to be outdone, Vaughn “Von” Smith, American Idol alumni, possibly out sopranoed Kuper Harris with his version of Justin Timberlake’s Cry Me a River which may have cracked a glass or two in the room. Even Smith had to have a jocose break or two mid song to gather his breath to finish the highest of high notes.
The final artist to showcase their talents was Brielle Von Hugel, another former American Idol contestant. With her sultry, soulful sound and the backing vocals of Jose and Smith, Outkast’s Hey Ya was a low key yet sensuous take on the original.
Over the course of the two Act performance, Savalas, Jose, Kuper Harris, Smith and Von Hugel entertained the crowd with renditions of Beyoncé’s All the Single Ladies, Smash Mouth’s Allstar, Radiohead’s Creep and Meghan Trainor’s All About That Bass amongst others. A highlight of the night was Savalas’ audience interaction in Act One whereby John/James/Jordan was treated to an onstage intimate performance of Ginuwine’s much covered song Pony Magic Mike style which left the audience in hysterics. As too was Kuper Harris and Smith’s eerie, but captivating duet of Tears for Fears Mad World in Act Two.
The decidedly vocal and fervent crowd were also treated to an all cast encore of Taylor Swift’s Shake it Off that literally had everyone on their feet and prepared them for the now obligatory cast/audience photo which wrapped up a fun evening of entertainment.
PMJ’s homage to modern music is unique and has earned them a following of fans both young and old. Their ability to fuse comedy with raw musical talent creates a boisterous and enjoyable live show to showcase their art.
Live Review by Anita Kertes